In the words of the immortal Neil Diamond, “Hello Again”

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Gentle Reader,

(Andy, on the days I don’t post, please just go back and re-read old posts.  It’ll help you practice and prevent that illiteracy problem from returning.)

(The rest of you-you should know I kid.  There is NOTHING that can prevent that illiteracy problem from returning.)  (XO.)

After returning from the wildest adventure ever (Amanda D?  THANK YOU!!!  None of us had any idea how sick I was, but know I was not contagious, and call me and you will totally laugh when I tell you about it.) this morning, I was mentally composing the blog post.  And it contained a LOT of whining and complaining and generally throwing myself a little pity party about things about which you should not give a hoot.  So we’ll sum this up quickly.  I went to a Lifesavers Rabble Rouser meeting in San Antonio, had plans to meet up with an old Habitat friend for a girls’ night of drinks and frivolity, got called back up to the World’s Smallest Apartment, on the way, got really sick, was stubborn and hardheaded and insisted on driving to the ranch, spent the weekend in the ER, was diagnosed, and am on the path back to health.  Will be a LONG path, though, apparently.  No need for any of you to worry, tho.  You don’t want details.  I’ll be fine.  And sometimes my Lifesavers Missions are NO FUN.  And being a grownup is really unfun sometimes.

Now.  Instead, let’s discuss happy things.

1.  The Sir and I left the ranch early this morning.  And the zebra walked us out.   They have the right-of-way, and THEY KNOW IT.  It took us 20 minutes to get off the compound.  (Erm, poor word choice.  But really nothing else fits.  But I do not anticipate a federal raid on this one.)  But the zebra were not at all rushed in getting their breakfast, and isn’t that all that really matters?  I took a photo, but this also illustrates the point about my lack of photography skillz, combined with the fact that the south end of a north-bound zebra is just not the most photogenic subject.

Can you see anything in this?No? Okay, take my word for it.

2.  Anybody else excited about the new season of “Hoarders”?

3.  In this time of year, I always get excited about food.  Anybody cooking anything interesting lately?  I’m not really up for cooking yet, but I’d love to hear about your projects.

4.  And here’s the one that changed the entire focus of this post, It’s Almost Naptime, another blog, which I have NO idea how to link to, but if you Google it, I bet you can find her, has fully funded her family’s adoption.  I’d give more details, but I know the powers that be in those adoption things don’t like a whole lot of details on the internet, so I’ll let her choose to reveal what she would like on the subject.  I am beyond thrilled for them.

And now, I’ve got to go see a man about a horse.  (Or something like that?)

Goodnight,

Wordie

PS-since I have NO IDEA how to link, but I don’t think it’s right to not link, we’ll do this the old fashioned way.  www.itsalmostnaptime.blogspot.com

Chillin’ With Apple TV

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Gentle Reader,

I had grand ideas about posting a concoction today involving bacon and white beans, but I spent most of today just getting STUFF done around The World’s Smallest Apartment (side note…the Swiffer Wet Mop thingeys in lavender and vanilla?  Lovely.  Just lovely.  Not overpowering at all.) and so now, I’m curled up with the Apple equivalent of Tivo.  (I’m nothing if not totally brand loyal to Mr. Steve Jobs.  He needs the money, obvs.)  Concoction didn’t happen.  So I’m catching up on “Glee”.  Thoughts:

1.  Can’t we get rid of the Gwenyth Paltrow character?  (This should tell you just how far behind I am.)  She.  Adds.  Nothing.

2.  That kiddo?  Sunshine?  Rainbow?  See above.  That rhinestone microphone makes me cringe.  And how many teeth does she have?  Did she have some imported from another small-time singer with one name?

3.  Emma?  Is that her name?  We need her on the show more.

Also, one of my projects for today was unpacking a new set of Lifesavers Rabble Rousers Practice Manuals.  A lot of them.   And I am officially out of all of bookshelf room.  Do any of my loyal readers have any temporary bookshelf solutions?  (Side note-Tina’s dress when she was singing at the benefit?  LOVE.  Edgy, structured, yet unstructured, and black taffeta is an underutilized fabric.)

(Also-I’m totally going to de-age a few decades overnight, and then be the one to totally convert Blaine.  My crush on him is totally NOT creepy.  Because he’s fictional, see?)

And now, we get more Gwenyth (sp?) singing.  UGH.  I’m going to go see if I can’t get books to levitate.  Better use of my time.

Goodnight,

Wordie

PS-Photo?  Okay.

The Sir, who is remarkably ambivalent to the terpsichorean stylings of Miss Paltrow

Weekend Wrap-Up: Thankfully there are no pictures edition…

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Gentle Reader,  (Andy, I hope that my lack of posting hasn’t let your illiteracy flare up again…)

After a Wednesday full of fun and excitement, The Boys felt like pizza for dinner.  (Actually, Cooper is pretty easy to please, he just wanted dinner.  Period.)  So I ordered it, and since people depend on these things for their livelihoods, we’ll say I ordered it from “Feetza Mutt”.  I ate two pieces, The Boys ate their crust (we always save them the crust and one piece of pepperoni each.  We do live in the First World, folks-we’re not savages.), I watched a little National Geographic Explorer (because I am elderly), and went to bed.  Approximately three seconds after dozing off, I awoke feeling like something had died a very slow and agonizing death in my stomach.  And so I leaped over Cooper’s carcass (he sleeps in the big bed with me, as is his constitutionally guaranteed right, and so therefore things like turning over in my sleep, waking up to get a drink of water, etc. require advanced negotiation with The Sir, who DOESN’T BUDGE.  At all.  And is pretty much a cover hog, which is why on a double bed, I have a king sized quilt and still run out of blanket.) and somehow managed not to land on Cody, who would very much like to sleep on the big bed with us, but The Sir is having NONE of that.  Perhaps there’s a territorial side to all that stubbornness, too.  And ran to the World’s Smallest Bathroom.

Where I spent most of the next twenty-four hours.  I got so dehydrated from that, that my toes and fingers started getting tingly, and I lost the ability to regulate body temperature.  So I did what any panicked (I mean, seriously, with Beelzebub living inside you, it incites a little panic.), dehydrated, and still QUITE ILL person would do.  I called my mommy.   WHO TOLD ME THAT SHE COULDN’T COME GET ME.  This, ladies and gentlemens, is when you know you are officially a grownup.  So I did what any grownup would do.  I waited half an hour, called her, sobbing (not so many tears, tho…see above dehydration analysis…) and asked her again.  And finally, she relented.  But it would be a few minute before she could leave The Ranch and come to The City.  In the meantime, I kept getting more panicked, and having more, um, symptoms.  I wasn’t about to call an ambulance, because hello?  Gossip?  But fortunately I remembered that my cousin, Baby M (he shall always be Baby M to me, because I remember him before he had all of his teeth…) is a doctor, and lived nearby.  He came and got me (with his sweet fiancee, Soon-to-Be Cousin M, who is also a doctor, and their new puppy, who I don’t think has any medical school plans…) and took me to one of those urgent care clinics in a fairly sketchy part of town.  But I had two very well-qualified physicians with me, and felt like if things got too out of control, they could step in and inject some rationality.  Besides, all I needed was some fluid and phenergan.  When I got there,  I was SO THIRSTY (those shipwreck movies are TOTALLY REAL people-when you get dehydrated, this instinctual, primal need for fluid takes over…) that I asked Dr. Baby M if I could go get a Sprite (I had been fantasizing about Sprite ALL DAY, people.  Sick.) and he apparently decided that surgery wasn’t going to be necessary here, so he greenlighted that.

I was a NEW WOMAN after the Sprite, and the 73 gallons of water I drank while waiting.  (This is what we call “foreshadowing”, people.)  Mom and Dad showed up and let the Drs. M enjoy their rare night of “not on call” together, and the medical clinic people did what they do, and gave me a prescription for something, and sent me on my way.  I made it all the way to The Ranch, where I proceeded to immediately prove in graphic fashion to my mom that no, indeed I wasn’t faking it or wasn’t as bad as I thought I was.  I know it’s kind of wrong, but I’m glad she got to see me like that, so she knew the trip wasn’t a bust.

I spent Friday in bed.  VAST improvement over Thursday.  I ate a few tablespoons of rice.  MIRACULOUS.  Saturday involved running errands and the continual presence of something to drink in my hand.  And by today, I was just fine.  So we celebrated Father’s Day.  For once, we weren’t lacking in ideas for him (the man is the world’s hardest person to buy for, EVER). and so I hope he enjoyed it.

And, people, I have thoughts on Father’s Day cards.  But that’s a post for tomorrow.

Goodnight!

Wordie

A Shorter One This Time

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Gentle Reader,

I’m pretty sure you are still processing the “wealth” of “information” contained in the last post.  So tonight, a list.

1.  I’m beat.  Exhausted.  Three BRB missions in one day?  TOO MANY.

2.  After TOO MANY missions, I got to come home to my night job, which is referee-ing the 160 pounds of Labrador that currently reside in The World’s Smallest Apartment.  Tonight, The Boys were feeling feisty, and played several rounds of “snarl” and “disturb the neighbors” and “ear biting”.  The Boys have incredibly soft ears.  We LOVE their ears.  (Until you have kissed the sweetness that is a Labrador ear, you can’t judge me.)  We rub them, they love it.  We kiss them, they tolerate it.  But whenever they are roughhousing, they always go for each other’s ears.  And for a period of about seven months there between 6 months old and a year, those ears were the ONLY thing keeping them around.  (Because it was very hard to convince the circus to take two Labradors who didn’t really have an act, and barring that, it was difficult to not love something that looked so sweet and knew to rub up against your kneecaps with those soft ears.)  So we have always tried to protect their ears, really FOR them, in case they ever need them to fall back on again.  Kind of like how Lloyd’s of London insures people’s body parts?  I don’t think The Boys are insurable.  They drink out of the toilet and eat drywall.

3.  I don’t mean to be all secretive, but the privacy of my loved ones trumps this blog any day.  But there’s Something Kinda Big That Might Turn Out To Be Nothing Big At All happening with one of my very closest.  I don’t know what your faith is, or even if you have faith.  I love you and like you either way.  But if you do feel so inclined, I believe that God (or whatever you call The Divine) knows the contents of all hearts and from whom nothing is hid.  Would you mind thinking something nice, or saying a prayer or lighting a candle, or hugging one of your beloveds extra tight tonight in honor of what is in my heart right now?  I know we’d appreciate it a lot.  And I promise to keep you updated as much as I feel I can.

4.  (I really don’t have a fourth, but nobody likes to end on an awkward note, do they?)  It looks like “Scout” shall be the name of the Ranch Cat.  (Once she was a girl, or at least once we knew she was a girl, “Finch” was out.)  And now with those two names, the source of the name of the cat should be apparent to everybody who ever took high school english.

And now, risking Andy’s disbelief, I’m signing off.

Goodnight,

Wordie

PS-Photo is just not going to happen tonight.  Call me a blog rebel.

My Monday-Corn!

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Gentle Reader,

First, a photo update as to what’s been happening at The Ranch:

It’s a girl!  And her name is still the subject of hot debate.  I will keep you notified as this critical situation develops.  But:

1.  Mom is still pretending we don’t have a kitten.

2.  This is as still as she has been since we’ve started letting her into the house.

3.  We’re all (mom included) just a little silly over this fuzzball.

4.  We are NOT, I repeat, NOT cat people.  We are Labrador people.  This kitten just has no manners and cannot tell when she has overstayed her welcome.  You would think with all the scratchy things, toys on a stick (ed. note:  cat toys?  WAY DIFFERENT from Labrador toys.), food, blankets, water, and litter box, she’d have gotten the hint.  But she’s stubborn, so this might be a long-haul sort of situation, reader.

 

And now, a few photo updates as to what’s been happening at The World’s Smallest Apartment:

We've been chewing.

We've been playing.

(We’ve been lamenting that Ansel Adams, I am not.)

We've been a little bit jealous and demonstrating to our brother that I belong to the Black Dog.

So, life with two Labradors at The World’s Smallest Apartment has been entertaining so far.

And now.  Corn.

The critical part to this method of preparation is fresh.  The corn?  Must have been picked THAT DAY.  Screamingly fresh.  Del Monte is fantastic for making black bean/mango relish, feeding deer, finger food for toddlers, etc.  Frozen corn is fantastic for shin splints.  With the advent of summer and the fact that every single town, village and crossroads is now touting its own farmer’s market where you can “get to know the person who grew your food” (ALWAYS a good thing) you can get fresh corn.  Introduce yourself to the farmer.  Ask when he picked it (I’m generalizing, if it’s a girl farmer, please ask HER when SHE picked it.), get to know him.  He can do great things.  When teamed up with you, the home cook, you both can do AMAZING things.  So-fresh corn.  For detailed analysis as to why corn must must must be fresh, please see Alton Brown’s fabulous discussion on this point.  I’d link, but I’m lazy and want to go to bed early.  You can find it.  I trust you.

First you slice all the corn off the cob.

I don’t have a photo of that.  Use a bundt pan, stick the stalk end of the cob into the hole, and it won’t slip out from under you and cause devastating injury.  Plus, fresh corn is surprisingly bouncy, and the depth of the bundt pan means that as you cut, you won’t have to chase individual kernels all over your kitchen.  I slice as close to the cob as I dare the first time, and do not go back and make a “second cut”, because once you slice the corn, it starts to release a milky starchy thing, and when I make “my” corn, I’m not going for creamy corn.  My mama makes the creamed corn in our household.  If you feel like creamy corn, second cut away.  I don’t know that I’d do a third cut-I’m pretty sure that would be mostly “cob”, and we don’t eat the cob.

Next, you melt butter in a pan.  This happens to be a “paella pan” though we have never ever in our live-long lives made paella in it.  We use it for my pork chops, my risotto, and, um, I’m sure my mama uses it for something, but I don’t spend all week at The Ranch, so I don’t really know what.

You want the butter to be very hot, and starting to brown.  WATCH BUTTER AS IT BROWNS, it can get smoky and “on fire” very quickly if you aren’t careful.  Don’t let the butter scorch.  Brown=good.  Black=start over.  The reason for this is that in my corn, I’m going for a quick caramelization effect on the corn.  To achieve caramelization, you have to have hot oil (butter) and cook your desired substance quickly.  So very hot butter, but not on fire butter.

Once the high-maintenance butter is at the perfect stage, dump the (low-maintenance) corn in.

Start stirring.  You want all the buttery goodness and the corn-y goodness to combine into nirvana.  After you’ve got it stirred and started to caramelizing (please don’t look for a caramel color on the corn like you would see on caramel popcorn…it’s not going to happen.  Just a hint of brown is all you need to see…) then go get your salt and pepper.

And add.  Copiously.  Salt to taste (some of us enjoy sodium, some of us don’t) but the black pepper?  Copiously.  It gives our sweet and buttery corn a nice foil.  Oh-and don’t go all fancy with “freshly ground pepper”.  This is one time where you really actually do want the fine grind of store-brand “black pepper” that comes in a can and stays in your cabinet for years.  Trust me.

Stir.

Next, the lime.

You put the lime in the coconut...

 

A few words on the humble lime.  1.  Throw it in the microwave for 30 seconds before you cut it and squeeze it.  It will change your life.  You didn’t know a lime could render so much juice.  2.  If it comes in a plastic bottle shaped like a lime?  Or a plastic bottle the color of a lime that has an ingredient list and nutrition labels on the side?  It’s not a lime.  Therefore, you cannot slice and juice it fresh, and therefore, it doesn’t belong in “my” corn.  Remember the critical part is the fresh.  If you want to live dangerously and use canned lime juice in “your” corn, well, that’s between you and your kitchen.  I judge not.

After juicing the lime, throw it on top of the corn, and stir.  At this point, the corn should be darn-shootin’ close to done.  You don’t want to cook it to death, but you want the raw starchy taste to be gone, too.

Do a taste test, and when done, pronounce it.  And then eat.

Now, lots of different cultures (well, okay, the two that I know of are Mexican and the American South, but I’m pretty sure they eat corn in other parts of this world, too) have various toppings that they put on corn.  A more detailed analysis of that is a blog post for another time (and probably another blogger) but I will point out one variation you might like to try.  In the Mexican culture, corn is often roasted in the husk and dressed with lime, salt, (sometimes chili powder/lime/salt mixture) and cotijia (I know I’m not even close to spelling that accurately…forgive me…) cheese and eaten like that, fresh off the roasting fire.  If you had some of that cheese and wanted to throw it in there, I think that’d be sensational-it combines with the lime in a way that makes the angels sigh.  Freshly grated parmesan cheese is a nice substitute here, and is equally sensational.  Bonus variation-in the American South, my grandmother enjoyed finely chopped home-grown banana pepper on her corn.  I have no idea if that is a South-wide thing, or a just my grandmother thing, but it’s a variation, and I am here to serve, people.

Now, let’s see, did I get a pic of the final product?

Oh, goody.  I did.  See how it’s just a hair browner?  And see the pepper?  There you go.

And with that…go into your kitchen.  Explore.  Experiment.  Make friends with it.

Goodnight,

Wordie

Weekend Wrap-Up, You just can’t bathe a cat edition.

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Gentle Reader,

Thanks for hanging with me during my unanticipated bloggy break.  I’ll try not to leave you hanging anymore.  Well, my Butter Rum Brigade mission was a great experience, I met lots of other Butter Rum Brigaders, and learned a lot of new tips on how to better bring back the Butter Rum flavor.  Since my boss is cheap, I had to stay in a rather sketchy motel, but I survived the experience and think I’m a better person for it.  I do know that the importance of socks in these kind of circumstances CANNOT be overstated.

After my Butter Rum Brigade duties were over, I drove to The Ranch, where the big excitement has been this:

Cody Winning Friends and Influencing People

One night this week, the parentals heard a cat mewling (mewling?  meowing?  whatev.) in the woods behind the homestead, and happened to tell me about it.  I was terribly concerned because what if the cat was hurt or injured?  Wouldn’t you want someone to at least come and rub your ears even if nothing else could be done?  Dad, however, was not moved.  WE ARE NOT CAT PEOPLE.  (This is what we refer to as “foreshadowing”.)

The next day, I got a call during a particularly boring portion of the Butter Rum Brigade meeting, and so I was grateful for the chance to excuse myself.  It was mom, telling me that she was going to send me the above photo (calling to inform someone of a text is a little like calling to make sure someone got an email, right?  thought so.) and to explain it.  No, we have not trained our labradors (HA!) into being chimney sweeps.  At some point in the night, the cat found its way into the chimney of our outdoor fireplace.  Cody (the blonde rump seen above) decided to try to make friends with the frightened three ounce kitten, and proceeded in the way he always proceeds when trying to make friends.  He climbed up INTO THE FIREPLACE, and started barking at the kitten.  (The “into the fireplace” is a fact-specific part of the process.  If you climbed down our chimney, he’d do the same for you, if you came in through the front door, he’d mow you down at the front door.  Just a clarification.)  Mom had to remove Cody from the fireplace (and wash the ashes off of his posterior) and put him inside (Cooper, too, he’s just a little bit too rotund to get actually INSIDE the fireplace.) so that she could put out a plate of tuna for the kitten.  Hoping that would lure him out.  Kitten came out, grabbed the tuna, and RAN BACK INTO THE FIREPLACE.  So at this point, I was pretty well convinced that:  1)  We now had a cat.  And 2) the cat and Cody were going to be pretty good friends, because clearly, they are unmatched intellectual equals.

The next morning, The Boys awoke to the mewling of the kitten, who had climbed the faux silk ficus tree on the porch.  (We really are Klassy.  But we just can’t throw that away, one of our cocker spaniels LOVED that tree, and it holds fond memories.)  The Boys were doing exactly what you can imagine they were doing, and the kitten was responding in the manner you would imagine.  After dragging the beasts back inside, mom tilts the tree down in order to rescue the kitten (it seemed wrong to call the fire department over a cat in a faux silk ficus tree…) from the tree.  The kitten promptly ran and hid IN THE LAWNMOWER for safety.  (Yep.  Kitten and Cody=total intellectual equals.)

The lawnmower is in the garage, so we could ensure the safety of the kitten by: 1) not mowing the lawn (not a problem!) and 2) closing the garage door and running a giant box fan to keep him cool.  (Which, as we were lacking one, my dad promptly ran out to the Wal-Mart three towns over to purchase.)  So the tuna, water, hide routine continued until I got there.  When I injected a little bit of sanity into the thing (mom is still pretending we don’t have a cat…she also pretended she didn’t like The Boys for the first three years of their lives, so she’s clearly good at denial…dad thinks we’ll leave it an “outdoor cat”…because cats in garages and lawnmowers have great quality of life standards…) by purchasing some cat food, some cat litter, something to play with, and one of those scratchy things.  I was, however, in total agreement that the kitten couldn’t come inside until 1) homeslice had a bath, and 2) the Ranch Vet could check him out.

And after getting closer to a lawnmower than I have EVER been in my life, I found the kitten.  And we discovered that the tiny thing likes being held.  Imagine!  So we fed him and tucked him in for the evening.

This morning, The Boys and I had to get up super early and head back here to The World’s Smallest Apartment (I have both boys this week because mom and dad need to have some stuff done for which having a Cody underfoot is a Bad Idea.) so Cody is learning about apartment living.  So far, not a big fan.  He does, however, enjoy the view of the pool.

Won't get INTO the water, but enjoys watching others do so.

 

Mom and Dad gave the kitten (tentatively named “Finch”-if you think about it, it’ll come to you…) a bath, and again, kitten and Cody=MADE for each other, because the kitten didn’t care for the water AT ALL.  But now its fur is all soft and fluffy and he’s (we have no idea, really, it’s WAY too tiny to tell…) embarrassed because he can’t do a thing with his hair when it gets all wet and humid.  So he wouldn’t allow photos. Perhaps later in the week.

And now, I’m exhausted from BRB missions, The Boys are exhausted from befriending the kitten, and my pizza should be here soon.  After that, we’re going to live dangerously and go to bed.  Someone tell me how the Mavs game turns out.

Goodnight,

Wordie

PS-Well give “My Monday” another try tomorrow, m’kay?